Dioramas was produced from a large archive of images shot in and around museum collections over the last two decades. Whilst the main focus of these past museum visits had been to photograph school parties (and in particular, children using the various museum displays), I’d often shoot the surrounding objects and cases too.
Looking back at this archive now, it was easy to see how much has changed. The culture of museum display itself has dramatically shifted (the hand-painted diorama featuring the coastline of East Lothian here, is long gone for example) but also many of the cased specimens I shot then have since dramatically declined in terms of population numbers.
It seems particular shocking in particular to think about how many birds have become extinct or reached the brink of extinction during this period. As Errol Fuller wrote in Extinct Birds ‘perhaps the very idea of the bird becoming extinct is something in particularly startling. Their capacity for flight and their very familiarity – the fact that they live so noticeably all around us make it doubly difficult to come to terms with the idea that a species should no longer exist’.